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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

What went right?

Okay not much, but it's a start!

After two grueling columns listing only the low points of went wrong with the Sox in 2002, and with a strike looming in the future as this is being written, maybe its time for something a little upbeat. This year was not a total disaster for the White Sox. Believe it or not there actually were some bright spots, and wed better look at them now before were all ready to stick our heads into the oven.

Paul Konerko: Aside from a slump following an All-Star Game appearance that should have led to his being named game MVP, Konerko really came into his own in 2002. He hits for average and with power. Okay, so in a footrace hed give Sherm Lollar and Robin Ventura competition for last place, but that is the only weak point in his offensive game. He does fine on defense. Apparently he is emerging as a clubhouse leader, too. Lets just hope the press clippings dont go to his head. Id like this guy to stay here for another fifteen years or so.

Magglio Ordoez: This guy is perhaps the best clean-up hitter the Sox have had in my lifetime. Like Konerko he combines power and average. 2002 was a typical Ordoez year, which is to say outstanding

Carlos Lee: Okay, call me crazy, but Lee finally broke out of his year long slump that started at the All-Star break in 2002. Hes playing better on defense this year than in 2001, too. If his improvement at the plate continues, he could be the next #3 hitter, even if Frank Thomas stays.

Joe Crede: Okay, so hes not hitting .300. But hes finally here and hes shown flashes of defensive ability that we havent seen since Robin Ventura was allowed to leave. As this is written, he is just starting to look a little more comfortable at the plate. Fans need to be patient at this point and let him get comfortable in his new role as a major league third baseman.

Jon Garland: Ive been telling people for two years now to be patient with Garland. He still is 22 years old. Hes just a kid. But now he seems to be learning to be a major league pitcher. If baseball is played in 2003 (and as this is written this is a mighty big if), it could be Garlands break-out season.

Mark Buehrle: Im saving the best till last. Buehrle is now the established ace of the Sox staff. Hes shown he can pitch against the best teams and win consistently. He could be the best Sox lefthander since Billy Pierce, and if you know anything about my regard for Pierce, you know that this is the highest compliment I could bestow on anyone.

Don Cooper: I must admit I had misgivings about the new Sox pitching coach based on reports I had from people familiar with the minor leagues, but so far those have been proven to be completely groundless. Cooper is in the process of turning around a very young pitching staff that seemed to be stagnating in its development. Pitch counts seem to be a thing of the past, or at least not the primary focus. The pitchers seem to be on the same page as he is, and is it any wonder? Cooper was around during the minor league development of most of them. This is one coach who should be kept around for awhile.

So there you have it. Something to hang your hat on in case of a strike. Unless Prof. Chaos decides to get rid of any or all of these players (and coach), there is a nucleus around which to build a successful franchise if the right moves are made. I refuse to become pessimistic today about this happening. Yes, I know that The Chairman is still holding the purse strings, that Prof. Chaos is still making the front office decisions, and that Gen. Disarray is still running the team on the field.

But no one can live without hope of some kind. Hope is the one thing that keeps us following the White Sox, and for one column I refuse to succumb to despair. Well get back to that next time.

Editor's Note: Hal Vickery has been a White Sox fan since 1955 when he was five years old. For much of that time he also had a secondary rooting interest in the Cubs, which he has shown the good sense to abandon. When not cheering for or writing about the Sox, Hal teachers chemistry and physics at North Boone High School, in Poplar Grove, IL. Hal commutes there daily from Joliet, where he lives with his wife Lee, and their dog, Buster T. Beagle. Hal's opinions are not necessarily those of North Boone High School, his wife, or Buster T. Beagle. You can write Hal at

More features from Hal Vickery here!

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